Dr. Lester Grinspoon was a vital advocate who was striving for the legalization of cannabis in the United States. He committed to promoting marijuana legalization in both book writing and Congressional testimony and died at 92 last Thursday.
Grinspoon is a native of Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard Medical School, and later joined as a professor there. He engaged in the cannabis industry since the 1960s, with the rapid growth of cannabis use.
“At that time I had no doubt that it was a very harmful drug that was unfortunately being used by more and more foolish young people who would not listen to or could not believe or understand the warnings about its dangers.”
Grinspoon argued that the understanding of cannabis was misinformed and misled. Thus, he aimed to deliver comprehensive and scientific information about cannabis.
And in 1971, Grinspoon published his best-selling book – Marihuana Reconsidered. After then, he was regarded as an authority on medical cannabis.
In the introduction of the book, Grinspoon wrote:
“After three years of research on cannabis, I concluded that not only was it much less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, but also that no harm it might cause was nearly as serious as the damage attributable to the annual arrest of 400,000 mostly young people on marihuana charges.”
A report published by The Times pointed out that people who read this book will reconsider the legalization of cannabis.
Although Grinspoon received much criticism, by the end of life, Grinspoon still fights for the legalization of cannabis in America.
NORML, an organization, is working to reform marijuana law. It has awarded “the Lester Grinspoon Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Marijuana Law Reform,” since 1999.
Keith Stroup, the founder of NORML, said in a statement:
“While there have been other medical and public health experts who have taken an active role to advance full legalization of marijuana, it is Dr. Lester Grinspoon who first led the way to insist that our marijuana policies be based on legitimate science… He has made it possible for us to have an informed public policy debate leading to the growing list of states legalizing the responsible use of marijuana.”
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